Reductionism and the Distinctiveness of Testimonial Knowledge

Sanford C. Goldberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


This chapter aims to correct two common and related misconceptions in discussions of the epistemology of testimony. The first misconception is that testimonial knowledge is an epistemically distinct kind of knowledge only if there are testimony-specific epistemic principles implicated in the justification of beliefs formed through testimony. The second misconception is that anyone who endorses a reductionist position regarding the epistemic status of testimony, and so denies the existence of testimony-specific epistemic principles, ipso facto ought to be hostile to the hypothesis that testimonial knowledge is epistemically distinctive. The chapter argues against both misconceptions by arguing for the distinctiveness hypothesis in a way that involves no premise any reductionist should want to deny.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Epistemology of Testimony
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191706110
ISBN (Print)9780199276011
StatePublished - May 1 2010


  • Reductionism
  • Testimonial knowledge
  • Testimony

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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